Life with Atopic Dermatitis

The symptoms aren't just visible.

Flare-ups aren’t just uncomfortable. Often, atopic dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema) requires daily attention to keep the itching and rash under control. Steroids, lotions and creams can help with your flare-up; but it can feel like there isn’t much you can do to keep a flare from happening again. Symptoms of anxiety have been reported among people with atopic dermatitis.9,11

That’s why understanding the underlying cause of atopic dermatitis is important. After all, atopic dermatitis can be frustrating and embarrassing and make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. But understanding the immunological causes can help you understand your skin better and help you find new ways to cope with your disease.9,10

Stories From Real Patients

See the impact atopic dermatitis can have on people and why it’s so important to maintain a positive outlook, seek support and start taking control of atopic dermatitis.

Talia's Story

My name is Talia and I suffer from severe atopic dermatitis.

When I say severe, that means that my skin was extremely dry, to the point that some days I couldn't wear clothes. I was riddled in staph infections. I could smell my own infection on me. I was unable to keep a job full-time. My social life was really damaged from it. And just my personality in general – I was always on edge.

Little things like I couldn’t stay at my friends' houses anymore because if they had a pet or if their sheets had dust on them or something, I would flare up so badly. I had this really strict routine in my own house, which was waking up, probably washing my sheets because they were drowned in skin or blood, My showers would be so long because I was just scrubbing all the dead skin off me.

From the smallest things to the biggest things, it controls your life!

Some days I couldn't go to work because I couldn't wear a bra, I couldn’t put underwear on because my skin would just tear and bleed. I can go… could go like this with my arms and feel the skin on my back just tearing.

I signed up for a clinical trial and I filled out all the questionnaire, got a call from the doctors and the people that are part of it. And they had said, sorry, we have found you’re not suitable because your condition is so severe, we wouldn't want to take you off the medicine you are currently on just to keep you going every day. And I thought, I’m not even allowed to do a trial because I'm so unwell – that's the end for me. And that was a really emotional time for me.


Laura's Story

My name is Laura and I'm living with severe atopic dermatitis. I don't actually remember life without having eczema. I did have it when I was younger in the very common spots, which is what people would think is just that rash.

And then the year I turned 21 was when it came back with absolute vengeance. It started on my stomach in just a couple of spots and that was a place I'd never had it before. And then it just spread and spread and spread and just completely out of control. And it ended up absolutely everywhere.

The only places my doctor said I didn't have it were the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet.

When people ask me what it feels like? I can honestly say it does feel like things are crawling all over you or things are crawling under your skin. I used to get a lot of like a burning sensation and honestly to feel like people were holding like a match up against my leg.

I would say during the parts of it where it was at its worst, my mental health completely, nose-dived. I would lie there at night and just be like, when is this going to end?

That was a really traumatic time that I went through. I was very lucky that I had people around me who loved me and supported me.

In my journey, my number one has been my dad.

If he hadn't pushed for me to go to other doctors or seek other treatments or his absolute willingness to just do anything. All I can really say is like, thank you, but that's really not enough. Yeah, he's just the best.

What I would say to anybody who's at that stage now. I would say to them, don't give up on yourself and don't let your doctors give up on you either. I think always keep asking for something more and also acknowledging that you know your skin and your body better than anybody.

Discover Coping Strategies

Do these quotes sound like you? Select each box to find out more about ways you can help manage atopic dermatitis.

  • Eventually, my skin will literally split, sometimes with blood. It’s so dry that it feels like there’s a shell on my skin.”* Rene, 42

    Atopic dermatitis is an immunological disease that is often mistakenly thought of as just a skin condition.9 But understanding the underlying inflammation that causes flare-ups can help you cope.2,5,9

    Learn how it works
  • One of the reasons I stopped playing soccer was because of eczema. I couldn’t get it under control.”* Sarah, 29

    Atopic dermatitis can affect more than your physical health—it can also affect your emotional health.11,12
    Learn how to combat atopic dermatitis by focusing on your emotional wellness.

    Find out more
  • It’s being in constant pain or discomfort all the time. And it feels like, after a while, that there’s nothing I can do about it.”* Rene, 42

    Keeping an open dialogue with your doctor is important for being actively involved in managing your atopic dermatitis and planning which treatments can help your condition.13

    My Care Path

*Individual experiences may vary.